Saturday, July 18, 2015

Monte Paularo MTB

Paluzza is north of Tolmezzo on the road to Austria.  If you turn east you climb along Torrente Pontaiba through Treppo Carnico and Ligosullo.  There's a turn off to your left here for Castel Valdajer, built in 1460.  It's a beautiful area with tall fir trees and fantastic views of surrounding mountains through the gaps.  After the castle, pavement ends and the road turns to hard-packed dirt/gravel.  In fact I road biked here in 2010 all the way to 1400 meters where the road got too rough.

Today on the mountain bike I went much higher, leaving the forest and entering grassy alpine landscape.  Continue switchbacking up to 1800 meters and after the alpine lake you'll see trail signs for Monte Paularo.  I pushed the bike up this last stretch to 2043 meters.  Great panoramic views from here, as well as World War I trenches.  I rolled the bike back down and headed on the trail for Malga Pramosio.  

I've read several accounts of riding this loop and they make it sound like this middle section is no problem, but I had to push my bike most of the way from Monte Paularo to Malga Pramosio.  It was a narrow hiking path with lots of bouldery sections, and steep ascents alternating with steep descents.  I'm guessing the writers of those accounts were expert riders because I could only ride about 20% of it, mostly toward the end.  Eventually it descends down to Malga Pramosio at 1520 meters.  There's a huge stone quarry below it, which I inadvertently rode to.

The long descent back to Paluzza is a switchbacking gravel road with summer weekend traffic heading up toward the malga.  Then you ride briefly down the main road from Austria until Paluzza.  This is a great ride but next time I'll return from Monte Paularo back down the road to Castel Valdajer.  Much easier and quicker.

New steeple on Ligosullo church;
Monte Zoncolan in background 

Creta Grazaria (above Sella di
Cereschiatis north of Moggio)

Castel Valdajer

Waterfall along the switchbacks
above Castel Valdajer

Looking south toward Monte Tersadia

Alpine Lago di Dimon

West toward Dolomiti peaks

Monte Dimon from top of Monte Paularo

Deep gorge north of Monte Dimon

WW I trenches atop Monte Paularo

Another view of trenches

Malga Pramosio

Climb from Treppo Carnico to base of Monte Paularo summit

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